85% of U.S. Travelers Are Vaccinated or Planning to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19

85% of U.S. Travelers Are Vaccinated or Planning to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19

Higher vaccination rates among would-be travelers indicate travel is a major motivator for getting vaccinated
Vaccination shot

With an end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, consumers are looking forward to resuming the activities they couldn't enjoy during the health crisis. The travel industry, in particular, is expecting a huge wave of vacationers excited to take in new sights and surroundings.

In a recent survey of past and current clients, Travel Leaders Network found that 62% of respondents have plans to travel in 2021.

However, safety remains a priority for these post-pandemic travelers — the travel agency network also discovered that, perhaps in anticipation of their vacation plans, 85% of its survey participants have already gotten the vaccine or will once they're eligible.

Travelers boast higher vaccination rate than general population

Controversy has surrounded the coronavirus vaccine since its development. As a result, a recent survey from the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project showed that 24% of respondents will "probably not" or "definitely not" get the vaccine.

The Travel Leaders Network survey sheds some light on traveler sentiments about the COVID-19 vaccine, and it showed that many would-be vacationers:

  • Had already been vaccinated (44%)
  • Planned on getting vaccinated when eligible (41%)
  • Did not plan on getting vaccinated (8%)
  • Haven't decided yet (8%)

"This data is interesting because it suggests travel is a big factor in motivating many people, particularly seniors, who are the most at risk of serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19, to get vaccinated," said John Lovell, the president of Travel Leaders Group, which oversees Travel Leaders Network.

"Compare this traveler population, with a 44 percent already-vaccinated rate, to the general population, where only 1 in 7 have already been vaccinated."

Clearly, safety is still top of mind for the majority of travelers, with many of them willing to go out of their way to ensure their safety during their trips.

For example, Travel Leaders Network also found that 36% of travelers would be "much more likely" and 26% "somewhat more likely" to visit a country if it required all visitors to be vaccinated.

In addition, an American Express survey showed that 65% of its respondents would travel once they and their family members received the vaccine, while others planned on avoiding large crowds by traveling during the offseason or to less popular destinations.

Vaccinated travelers more likely to have booked plans

Travel Leaders Network also discovered that 24% of its clients have begun planning for their next vacation, while 32% have already booked theirs. Unsurprisingly, the survey also showed that those who had already been vaccinated were 20% more likely to have booked their travel plans.

And of the respondents with plans for a vacation this year, Travel Leaders Network found that:

  • 34% are planning to travel this spring and summer
  • 23% are planning to travel this fall
  • 5% are planning to travel for the holidays

Travel Leaders Network also asked respondents what they missed most about traveling, with a breakdown of responses that included:

  • "Exploring new places" (44%)
  • "Getting away from it all" (25%)
  • "Returning to places I love" (12%)

Notably, only a handful of survey participants plan on using their time and resources to travel to somewhere they’ve already visited. Consumers want a change of pace in their surroundings and activities, and are using travel as a way to scratch that itch.

These findings are also backed by another travel survey from ValuePenguin, which found that travelers were most likely to splurge on once-in-a-lifetime activities (24%) on their next vacation, with their destination being the next most popular indulgence (19%).

Methodology: Travel Leaders Network conducted an online survey of past and current clients between Feb. 26 and March 2, 2021, with 2,783 respondents nationwide successfully completing the survey.

Feli Oliveros is a finance and business writer with experience covering personal finance, small business finance, and payment processing. In 2015 she graduated from UCLA, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English and minored in Anthropology.